Moglen: Microsoft's Own Vouchers Douse Patent Threats

Lora Bentley

Free Software Foundation general counsel and GPL v3 drafter Eben Moglen says Microsoft's recent threats to get patent royalties from Linux distributors were empty even before they were made.


According to the INQUIRER, Moglen credits Microsoft's own Novell deal with rendering the threats meaningless. Or rather, it's the fact that Microsoft didn't include an expiration date on the SuSE vouchers it's offering -- complete with patent protection.


Since they have no expiration date, they can be used after the newest version of the GNU General Public License becomes effective. Because GPL v3 includes a provision that makes granting immunity to one Linux user equal to a grant of immunity to all Linux users, Moglen says, Microsoft effectively "shoots itself in the foot" the minute it allows the first SuSE voucher to be redeemed after GPL v3 is in force.


The writer surmises that not only is Microsoft kicking itself for not dating the vouchers, but Novell is doing the same -- simply because it paid a hefty price for something that will benefit its competitors.

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